Teach For America Veteran Announces For Arkansas Governor

By John Celock

A former statewide head of Teach for America has become the first Democrat to enter the race for Arkansas governor next.

Democrat Jared Henderson, 39, kicked off his gubernatorial candidacy earlier this week, highlighting his past work with Teach for America and as a scientist for NASA earlier in his career. Henderson is seeking to unseat Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), who is seeking a second term.

“This is about ideas that are suited for the unique opportunities and challenges of the 21st century. This is not the next chapter of the ‘big government vs. small government’ debate,” Henderson said in a statement. “This is about responding to the fact that we are living in one of the most expansive, dynamic, and rapid periods of change in history. It is a time that calls for a new vision of government and politics. In my vision of government, we solve problems and promote opportunity by deciding how government can best complement and unleash the efficiency and innovative capacity of the private sector; the passion and scrappiness of our non-profit community; the wisdom and values of our faith-based organizations; and the trust of our local civic institutions.”

Henderson is the first Democrat to enter the race against Hutchinson, a former congressman and federal law enforcement official. Hutchinson is facing a Republican primary challenge from gun rights activist Jan Morgan. Hutchinson’s predecessor, Mike Beebe, is the last Democrat to win the governorship in Arkansas. Currently no Democrats hold statewide office in the state.

Henderson was the Arkansas state director of Teach for America for six years. He also spent two years heading a statewide education group that presented 90 policy recommendations which were approved by the state Board of Education in 2015. Henderson started his career as a research scientist at NASA and also worked in management consulting.

Henderson is part of a growing number of thirty-something candidates seeking governorships around the country. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R), 43, is currently the nation’s youngest governor. There are currently 14 statewide elected officials under the age of 40, with the number set to grow to 15 when Virginia Lt. Gov-elect Justin Fairfax (D), 38, is sworn-in next month.

Gubernatorial Candidates Under 40 In 2018 Election

Junior High School Student Ethan Sonneborn (D), 13, (Vermont)
High School Student Jack Bergeson (D), 16, (Kansas)
High School Student Joseph Tutera, Jr. (R), 16, (Kansas)
High School Student Tyler Ruzich (R), 17, (Kansas)
High School Student Ethan Randleas (R), 17, (Kansas)
High School Student Dominic Scavuzzo (R), 17, (Kansas)
State Senate Minority Leader Garrett Mason (R), 32, (Maine)
State Sen. Nate Boulton (D), 37, (Iowa)
Middletown Mayor Dan Drew (D), 37, (Connecticut)
Trumbell First Selectman Tim Herbst (R), 37, (Connecticut)
State Rep. Paulette Jordan (D), 37, (Idaho)
Former Michelle Obama Advisor Krish Vignarajah (D), 38, (Maryland)
Former State Agriculture Secretary Josh Svaty (D), 38, (Kansas)
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D), 38, (Florida)
Former State Rep. Kelda Helen Roys (D), 38, (Wisconsin)
Businessman John Warren (R), 38, (South Carolina)
Former Teach for America Executive Jared Henderson (D), 39, (Arkansas)
Businessman Chris King (D), 39, (Florida)
State Rep. Stacey Evans (D), 39, (Georgia)
State Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R), 39, (Nevada)

Statewide Officeholder Under 40

Kansas Treasurer Jake LaTurner (R), 29, (Appointed to Fill Vacancy)
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles (R), 34
North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson (R), 34
North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger (R), 34
Rhode Island Treasurer Seth Magaziner (D), 34
Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway (D), 35, (Appointed to Fill Vacancy)
Iowa Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg (R), 35, (Appointed to Fill Vacancy)
North Dakota Tax Commissioner Jon Godfried (R), 35
West Virginia Auditor J.B. McCluskey (R), 35
Kentucky Treasurer Allison Ball (R), 36
Washington Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib (D), 36
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (R), 37
North Dakota Auditor Josh Gallion (R), 38
Virginia Lt. Gov.-elect Justin Fairfax (D), 38
Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R), 39